Jan 222009
Authors: Elyse Jarvis

After coming to the conclusion last month that it will split the system’s president and chancellor roles, the CSU System Board of Governors announced this week that it will hold its first CSU-Fort Collins stakeholder meeting next month.

Board representatives will meet at the Lory Student Center on Feb. 18 to provide its constituents — CSU students, faculty, staff and local business and community leaders — an open forum. There, the BOG aims to determine the qualifying characteristics of its next chancellor.

The meetings’ findings will determine whether the search process, which has not yet been organized, will be statewide or nationwide, said Michele McKinney, BOG spokesperson.

“There are many steps in the process, but we are moving forward,” she said. Stakeholder meetings will be numerous and will also take place at the CSU-Pueblo campus.

The new role of chancellor is one that, formerly, CSU-Fort Collins presidents were responsible for taking on in addition to university presidential duties, with the CSU-Pueblo president reporting to the CSU-Fort Collins president.

Following former CSU President Larry Penley’s abrupt departure Nov. 5, the BOG said it felt a split may be necessary. Having an authority based in Denver to represent student needs to the state legislature, they said, may be most beneficial for the entire system. The system is made up of both CSU-Fort Collins, CSU-Pueblo and CSU-Global.

Meeting in a public forum in December, the board discussed the role and mission of thesystem and, after reviewing leadership models from universities across the country, came to the consensus that the positions should be separate, McKinney said.

“There was no vote and no formal action taken,” she said. “(The board members) all came to agreement that that’s the direction they’d like to see university go in.”

After Penley’s departure, both retiring Sen. Wayne Allard and former State Rep. Bernie Buescher expressed interest in the chancellor role prior to its official existence.

Buescher, however, recently accepted an appointment from Gov. Bill Ritter, D-Colo., to the position of secretary of state and will not pursue a position at CSU.

While Steve Wymer, a spokesperson for Allard, said the former senator does not have a clear description of what a chancellor’s job would entail, “(Allard’s) interest absolutely does still exist, and he looks forward to any formal invitation to apply.”

“(Allard) would like to have his name considered for the position,” Wymer said in an interview with the Collegian at the end of last year.

Wymer said Allard would be an ideal figure to take on a fundraising, public relations and legislative position for the CSU system, as these are rumored to be what the board would like to see in a chancellor.

In expressing his desire to work with the university, Allard is also interested in who the CSU-Fort Collins president will be, Wymer said.

“He obviously has a good relationship with Tony Frank and would look forward to working with him,” Wymer said.

Frank took up the CSU-Fort Collins helm following Penley’s departure. BOG chair Doug Jones and Rich Schweigert, chief executive officer of CSU Global, have since shared the chancellor’s duties.

Penley’s attention to the Fort Collins campus came under criticism recently, as some university figures felt most of his time was spent in areas outside of the university, forcing his on-campus colleagues to pick up the responsibilities at home.

Rick Miranda, recently appointed interim university provost, said the difference between Penley’s presidency and Frank’s is akin to a swing from one end of the pendulum to the other in terms of budget priorities and internal involvement.

Frank’s ascension, Miranda said, can be credited to both his experience at CSU and Penley’s lack of interior focus, and he said the position split between chancellor and CSU-Fort Collins president will allow the president more time on campus.

“I would hope that it would never swing back to the other end of the spectrum (which had less internal involvement),” Miranda said. “(That) would mean whoever the next provost is would have a little less power over things than Tony Frank did, and that would be healthy.”

The BOG will announce an agenda for its first Fort Collins stakeholder meeting in the near future and McKinney said she anticipates that the meetings will be divided into interest groups. The meetings will take place on the CSU-Fort Collins and CSU-Pueblo campuses, in Denver and, potentially, in the outlying western slopes and the northeastern corner of the state.

“All of those decisions,” McKinney reiterated, “will need to be determined.”

News Managing Editor Elyse Jarvis can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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